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This chapter lists seven festivals or feast days not including the Sabbath Day. The Sabbath was not a feast day but it's included here because it was a day that was set aside for worship. The number seven was very important throughout the bible and especially in the feasts to the Lord. The Sabbath Day is the seventh day, Pentecost is the feast of the seventh week, the Day of Atonement follows the seventh new moon and the Feast of Tabernacles is the feast of the seventh month. In the Feast of the Tabernacles, there were seven days of dwelling in tabernacles and, of course, during Pentecost there were seven days of eating unleavened bread. The feasts brought the twelve tribes together in worship and fellowship, it was the only time some of the people ever saw each other, (much like family weddings and funerals today!). There are three other observances mentioned in the bible. We will study two of them in chapter 25: The Sabbatical year and the year of Jubilee. And the New Moons (which is the first of each month) is found in Numbers 28:11-15.

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Leviticus 23     "1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. 3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings."

The Sabbath was not actually one of the feast days. It was to be observed as a day of rest but not only as a day of rest. It was also to be set aside as a day to worship the Lord. There was to be a noticeable difference between the Sabbath and the other six days of the week. The children of Israel were to do no work on the Sabbath. It was to be "an holy convocation." Convocation means an assembling of the clergy. They were only to worship the Lord and rest on that day. We are to assemble ourselves together for worship on the Sabbath and rest from our daily concerns and labors. There are some jobs that must be done on the Sabbath such as caring for the sick and elderly. And some places, such as hospitals, health care facilities and power plants, must be kept running twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. But most places can close down one day a week with no ill effects and most people get at least one day a week off. If you are a Christian you should insist that your day off be on Sunday if at all possible and you should find a local church to attend.

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Leviticus 23    " 4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. 5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover."

Now is the beginning of the list of feast days when the people were to gather themselves together before the Lord for a feast (except for one, which was actually a "fast"). The first one listed is the Passover. We studied the Passover in Exodus 12 so we'll just refresh our memories a little here. If you'd like you can go back and read Exodus 12 again. The Passover refers to the night the children of Israel brushed the blood of the lamb on the doorpost of their house to keep the angel of death from killing their first born son. All the first-born of the Egyptians were killed from the stable all the way to the King's palace but none of the children or cattle of the Israelites were touched because of the blood. God told them to keep a feast day called Passover as a remembrance of that night. During the Passover there was to be no leaven found in the house. Leaven was an agent such as yeast that made the bread rise.

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Leviticus 23     "6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. 7 In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 8 But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein."

This feast week followed the Passover; it was the feast of unleavened bread when no leaven was to be found in the house. The first day there was to be a gathering of all the people and no work was to be done. An offering was to be made to the Lord for seven days and then on the seventh day they were to come back together for another meeting.

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Leviticus 23     "9 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it."

The feast of Firstfruits couldn't be celebrated until the nation of Israel settled in Canaan and began to reap the harvest of the land. After the fristfruits of the harvest were reaped, the day after the Sabbath they were to be brought to the priests who would then present them to the Lord as an offering of gratitude. None of the fruits of the land were to be eaten until this offering was made.

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Leviticus 23     "15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: 16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD"

This scripture is talking about the feast of Pentecost. Pentecost means fifty. Pentecost takes place fifty days (or seven weeks) after the Passover. The list of what was to be brought for an offering was very strict: two loaves made with two-tenths deals (or three quarts) of very fine flour baked with leaven, seven one-year-old lambs without blemish, and two rams. They were also to offer one kid of the goats for a sin offering and two lambs for a peace offering. They were also told to leave some of the gleanings of the land for the poor.

Leviticus 23     "23 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. 25 Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD."

The feast of the blowing of the trumpets took place on the first day of the seventh month, which now became the first month for them. So this became their New Year Day. As with their other yearly sabbaths, it was to become a holy day of rest. They blew the trumpet every new moon but on the first day of the new year they were to blow the trumpet from sunrise to sunset. It was supposed to be a memorial but it is not told for what!

Leviticus 23     "26 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. 29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. 30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. 31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath."

We studied the Day of Atonement in chapter 16. The Day of Atonement was on the tenth day of the seventh month, which would correspond to our October 3rd. It was the only day the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies. Everyone who did any work on this day risked penalty of death! It was to be a day of sorrow and a day of mourning. It was a day for reconciliation between God and man. The people were to face this day soberly and solemnly and I'm sure the high priest faced it fearfully for if he did one thing wrong, he also risked death!

Leviticus 23     "33 Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 34 "Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD. 35 'On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work of any kind. 36 'For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work. 39 'On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day. 40 'Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days. 42 'You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, 43 so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God."

The holy season of tabernacles was on the fifteenth day of the seventh month five days after the Day of Atonement. It was a week of rejoicing for the children of Israel. It began on the Sabbath and ended on the Sabbath with a feast week between. The Great Day of Atonement was such a solemn and sorrowful day that the season of tabernacles was a much needed happy occasion to lighten the spirits of the people. It was a time of fellowship, rejoicing and celebrating. This feast was called the "Feast of Booths". The people carried palm branches and made booths that they lived in for that week in memory of the temporary dwellings they lived in for the forty years they wandered in the wilderness. It was to remind the Israelites of how God had taken care of them during that time and to renew their faith in their God. This feast was also called the "feast of ingathering" because it was at the end of the year when they had gathered in the harvest from the field. We could liken it to our Thanksgiving.

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